Moving on with our series of CMS reviews, today we will be focusing on another developer-friendly Content Management System: Ionize CMS. Ionize CMS is a flexible open source CMS, that uses PhpStorm and CodeIgniter. Managed by Studio Partikule of France, it has its own module engine and can be used to power a wide plethora of websites. Also, Ionize CMS is equipped with the very liberal MIT license.
*Just in case you haven’t yet checked out the previous instalments, which discussed and reviewed multiple content management systems such as MODX, Concrete5, SilverStripe, FUEL CMS, ImpressPages CMS, Joomla! and several others, you can do so here.
Ionize CMS: This One Speaks Multiple Languages!
What is it About?
- In terms of ease of use, Ionize supports a drag and drop model to help you arrange and manage your website. It also has some intuitive features such as email encoding and automatic hyperlink conversion.
- The CMS has its own embedded template system, and makes extensive use of tags to arrange content. Also, Ionize CMS makes use of Extended Fields to add data to websites.
- It can be extended via modules, and detailed instructions are provided in the documentation.
- Perhaps the biggest USP of Ionize CMS is in its multilingual approach. Translating Ionize CMS is extremely easy.
Using Ionize CMS
Ionize CMS organizes itself under three broad folders, apart from its system folders: /files contains all your uploads such as images and videos, and can even be renamed if needed. /themes contains data about themes, and /install is the installation directory that you must delete after installing Ionize CMS.
The basic procedure for setting up a theme is simple (details here):
- In the /themes directory, create a sub-folder, say my_theme.
- Next, in the Ionize CMS admin panel, head to Settings–>Theme… and under Options, select my_theme.
Perhaps the best part about using Ionize CMS is the sleek interface. It is still not a walk in the park for the average WordPress user, but I find the admin panel to be highly usable. By default, your Dashboard presents you with site traffic statistics, as well as nifty shortcuts to to Analytics, Translations, and others.
To your left, is the site management menu. However, let us focus on the admin panel’s navigation menu.
- The Dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view, as expected.
- Under Content, you can manage menus, create pages, articles, categories and even manage translations and media.
- Modules menu lets you work with modules — more on this later.
- The Settings menu lets you configure the Ionize CMS interface, languages, users and roles, etc.
- Help does just that — help!
Adding languages to Ionize CMS is fairly simple. Simply head to Settings–>Languages, and off you go! You can add, remove and edit multiple languages as per your needs.
Similarly, adding an article is simple too. You can select a default language, and then proceed as you would in any other CMS.
Working with images? No problem again:
As already noted, the USP of Ionize CMS lies in its multilingual capabilities. If you are someone who needs to work with multiple languages, or have clients who require more than one language, Ionize CMS should definitely be on your lift of CMSs to check out! Not only is the CMS natively multilingual (requires no additional module for it), you can translate virtually any type of content across your website, and even add several languages side by side. Yes, no limits whatsoever!
The CMS itself has been translated into several languages so far, including German, French, Italian, and multiple others.
Add to it the fact that Ionize CMS has a CodeIgniter background and is modular, and you have a developer’s dream come true.
In terms of support, Ionize CMS has a forum with a good level of activity, along side support documentation. The documentation is divided into two sections. The first part is for end users, which basically deals with entry-level information such as how to add an article, how to add and remove links, working with Ionize CMS, and so on.
The second part of the documentation, however, deals with technical information at good length. It talks about installation, debugging, upgrades and migration, module creation, etc.
Analysis And Verdict
Version one of Ionize CMS has recently come out. Obviously, the project is still in its initial stages, and by the looks of it, it surely seems to be growing well.
Ionize CMS has all the requirements for success: CodeIgniter and multilingual aspect give the CMS a much-needed edge over others in its league. Plus, a thoroughly planned and well laid-out documentation further add to its merits. The documentation, however, can probably use a few video tutorials, etc. for added benefits.
So, should you consider using Ionize CMS?
The answer to the above question is affirmative, if:
- You are a coder or developer.
- You’re looking for a multilingual and simple CMS.
- You need something with a CodeIgniter base.
- You need a modular and flexible CMS.
And the answer should be negative, if:
- You need an “out of box” solution, with ready to use templates, themes, plugins, etc.
- Coding? What coding?
- You are happy with your current CMS — if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!
What do you think of Ionize CMS? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for various magazine and blogs, and has authored several books. He blogs about technology, Linux and open source, mobile, web design and development, typography, and Content Management Systems at Code Carbon. You can learn more about him, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.